Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Taser Crutch

Yesterday I saw a news report about an elderly woman being tasered by a policeman.

The issue I have with this is the use of force by the policeman involved. Years ago when I was in law enforcement we were trained every year on the use of force. The main rule was to use the minimum force necessary. You had to choose between your wits, self defense training, a night stick or metal flashlight, mace, and your firearm and determine which was the minimum necessary to do what needed to be done. You started with your wits unless circumstances required an immediate escalation, like if the suspect was armed. That seems to have gone away with the advent of tasers. Rather than repeatedly brandish his taser in her face and threaten her with it, he could have easily put this woman up against the car and cuffed her. He's obviously strong enough and she hardly presented a physical threat. Instead he chose to zap her and there really seems to be no reason except for his lack of emotional control and clear thinking.

And topping it off by telling a 72-year-old woman he just put down with 50,000 volts, "Put your hands behind your back or I'll tase you again," shows this officer easily disregards more appropriate options.


jason said...

I don't know anything about this case, but from your description I tend to agree with you. Do you think, though, there might be times where the taser would be the quickest and safest way to get control of a situation, as opposed to tackling a guy or some other form of physical force? Not with a 72 year old woman of course.

Hank Greer said...

I'm sorry, I think that all to often in these times the unfortunate product of conjecture is justification for improper (or worse) actions because of what could happen as opposed to what is happening.